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In 2010, we posted about the difficulties presented in identifying many Sympetrums, especially in eastern North America. With the increasing popularity of dragonfly ID and photography, and posting same on social media and citizen science websites, we have updated our post with some new data and references. I'll repeat the bottom line here, and you can read more at the original posting:
Over most of eastern North America, the most common meadowhawk species (Ruby, White-faced, Cherry-faced, and Jane's) should not or cannot be identified to species from a photograph -- especially when immature. Often, they cannot even be identified to species in the hand because the structural characteristics of their genitalia are intermediate due to hybridization. In fact, DNA analysis has shown that some of these "species" may not be full species, or may still be undergoing speciation.